Today, South Carolina. Next Year, Virginia?


    A little earlier this afternoon, we got some excellent news, that is if you care about the rule of law and protection of peoples’ right to vote:

    The Justice Department on Friday entered the divisive national debate over new state voting laws, rejecting South Carolina’s measure requiring photo-identification at the polls as discriminatory against minority voters.

    The decision by Justice’s Civil Rights Division could heighten political tensions over the new laws, which critics say could depress turnout among minorities and others who helped elect President Obama in 2008. A dozen states this year passed laws requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    So far, Virginia isn’t one of those dozen states, but don’t you worry, the Teapublicans are on top of the situation heading into 2012! That’s right, watch out, as Virginia Teapublican Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) has introduced this piece of crap legislation:

    Elections; voting procedures; voter identification requirements; provisional ballots.  Provides that a voter who is unable to present one of the enumerated forms of identification may sign a sworn statement that he is the named registered voter he claims to be and then be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. Present law allows such a voter to vote an official rather than provisional ballot after signing such statement.

    With voter participation already absurdly low, why on earth would we make it harder for people to vote in this country?  And no, there’s no serious problem with “voter fraud” in this country, that’s just a right-wing myth, like “the world’s actually not getting warmer” and “tax cuts pay for themselves.” In fact, it’s all about the Republican Party’s multi-decade war on voting rights, particularly against minorities, but also against young people and organized labor and pretty much anyone who might put up opposition to the Republicans’ 100% pro-corporate, anti-environment, anti-democratic (small “d”), anti-women, anti-GLBT, anti-immigrant (etc, etc, etc.) agenda. And, of course, this battle tends to flair up as we approach presidential election years, when the chances of Democratic victory increase with the numbers of Americans voting.  Funny how that works: when more people vote, Democrats do better; when fewer people vote, Republicans do better. Think about that one.

    • glennbear

      This last election in southside VA had a very low turnout which was to be expected since this was an “off” year and both state legislators ran unopposed as did a majority of county office holders. However, there were a few things I noted of concern, my new polling place because of redistricting was in the “Sunshine district” so named because the polling place was alleged to be in the “Sunshine furniture store”. Came election day I keyed in the address on my new voter card into my GPS and when the friendly female voice in the GPS uttered “you have arrived” I was at “Bubba’s driving school” however there was a proliferation of campaign signs on the lawn and hidden behind the big sign for Bubba’s on the lawn was a small “VOTE HERE” sandwich board. After I cast my ballot I got out my measuring tape and found that several of the campaign signs and folks electioneering were within the proscribed distance of the poll entrance.

          After I was gawked at by various and sundry poll workers and campaign staffers I had a poll worker contact the Board of Election head who arrived complete with a case of attitude since apparently in his experience no one had ever questioned the compliance of a polling place with VA election laws. After some discussion which finally cooled off, the offending signs were removed and those folks passing out campaign materials were moved out of the exclusion zone.

           Regarding the dichotomy between the name of district and the current name on the building his response was “well Sunshine built this building for their furniture store years ago and folks know that” I politely explained I had not lived in the area “years ago” and that this was a disservice to new or relocated voters.

          The point of my lengthy story is that any VA voter who wants true democracy to prevail in the very important 2012 election make yourself aware of VA election law and complain politely but firmly to the proper officials when said law is violated. The GOP is trying their best to disenfranchise voters with the above ID law proposals however there are others who are Karl Rove fans and will try any dirty trick to influence elections if we are not vigilant. With low turnout in Nov. and this being a redistricting year, come 2012 a lot of folks will be voting somewhere new for the first time. This of course opens the door for all kinds of mischief. (note to lowkell: if this would be better in a diary just let me know and I will make one)  

    • kindler

      Scott Surovell (@ssurovell)

      12/23/11 4:57 PM

      Obama DOJ rejects SC voter ID law as being racially discriminatory – – I’m ready to fight it again in VA as well

      Scott really gets what progressive politics is about — taking a principled stand, staking out your ground and fighting to defend it.  And not waiting until it’s a moot point, but preparing for the battle before it even arrives at your door.